Monday, August 01, 2005

Cambodia loses 100 mln US dollars annually due to HIV/AIDS

Around 100 million US dollars is lost every year because of HIV/AIDS and its impact on the country's economy and population, according to Cambodia's National Aids Authority (NAA).

"Although the HIV/AIDS infection rate has declined in the last three years, the negative impact still exists," The Cambodian Press Review quoted NAA Communication Officer Kim San as saying on Monday.

Since 1999 the country has paid out a yearly 100 million dollars.

As the government lacks the appropriate funding, many people have to pay the cost for treatment by themselves and become poorer in the process, it said.

Since the government can only provide a limited amount of services, many communities have to take the burden of the disease on their own.

The money spent on fighting the disease goes to buying medicine, offering care and food, and providing help for orphans whose parents have died of AIDS. The country's human resources are also affected, causing indirect financial losses.

According to experts, 20,000 people will die of HIV/AIDS annually in the next five years. An estimated 90,000 people died of HIV/AIDS from 1991 to 2002.

Today's major concern is the effect of the disease on the country's housewives, who are becoming the main victims of the disease, Kim San said. In 2003, the infection rate amongst housewives reached 2.2 percent.

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